PHILADELPHIA — For all of Jalen Hurts’ good moments throughout Philadelphia Eagles coaching camp — and there have been quite a lot of them — it was a miscue that led to one of many summer season’s most revealing moments.
The crew was simulating an end-of-game scenario the place there have been beneath 30 seconds to play. The offense had no timeouts and wanted a discipline objective to win. When a third-down QB keeper was dominated wanting the sticks, Hurts ran off as the sphere objective unit got here on, neglecting handy the ball to the official to assist expedite the following play. Coach Nick Sirianni gave him an earful in entrance of the media and gathered followers, letting him know in no unsure phrases that if time expired, it was going to be on him. Hurts mentioned one thing inaudible again and Sirianni countered extra emphatically. After a second of reflection, Hurts dropped to the bottom and began doing pushups, proudly owning as much as his mistake.
“Everybody is worthy of being coached,” Hurts said. “I can’t get on another guy for acting a certain type of way towards something if I’m not practicing what I’m preaching. We’re all here to learn and to continue to grow.”
“Shoot,” mentioned Sirianni, “when you may coach your finest participant the toughest, that is good for everyone.”
A lot has modified because the Eagles final gathered on the NovaCare follow fields for coaching camp. Hurts put collectively a near-MVP common season in 2022 and saved his finest recreation for the most important second, erupting for 374 whole yards and 4 touchdowns in a heartbreaking 38-35 loss to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs in Tremendous Bowl LVII. His stardom has risen dramatically. Hurts, who turned 25 on August 7, not too long ago completed No. 3 within the NFL’s High 100 Gamers of 2023 rating, as voted on by his friends. The Eagles will not argue: In April, they rewarded him with a five-year, $255 million contract extension, making him the face of the franchise and one of many league’s highest-paid gamers.
However for Hurts, it has been enterprise as regular. Coaches and teammates paint an image of a participant who’s disinterested within the accolades, unchanged by the acclaim and as fiercely targeted as ever on his craft; who has grown his information of the sport to the purpose the place it is like having one other coach within the quarterback room; and who’s poised to as soon as once more degree up, pushed by the Tremendous Bowl loss, and historical past, and the pursuit of greatness.
The lock display screen on Hurts’ cellphone is a photograph of him strolling off the sphere at State Farm Stadium following the Tremendous Bowl loss to the Chiefs on February 12, crimson and yellow confetti falling throughout him as he seems to be ahead stoically.
This was not speculated to be public information — Hurts performs all the things near the vest — however a teammate’s stay Instagram feed unintentionally captured the picture, providing the skin world a glimpse of how final yr’s shortcoming has become this yr’s motivation.
“I’d rather not talk about that,” Hurts said. “I don’t think it’s really appropriate considering if it were up to me, y’all wouldn’t know about it, no one would know about it. And I’ll leave it at that.”
Hurts is understood to retailer any slight or stumble for future gasoline, so it is no shock he’s giving himself a relentless reminder that he fell wanting the objective, regardless of how shut he got here to it. However that is totally different than being distracted by it.
“He’s bought one of the crucial unbelievable mindsets, work ethics,” teammate Dallas Goedert mentioned. “Proper after the Tremendous Bowl, he flushed that, he was able to get to this season.”
Hurts and a few of his pass-catchers gathered in California early this offseason to get additional work in. Goedert mentioned Hurts introduced “his complete pc system” with him to look at movie, Goedert joking it is far more elaborate than the iPad the Eagles give him to check tape.
“I’m positive after they paid him, they hooked him up with one thing actual good to verify he stayed on his Ps and Qs, however everyone is aware of he’ll,” Goedert mentioned. “He desires to be a fantastic participant on this league for a very long time and he desires to win. It’s an on a regular basis factor for him. He doesn’t take a time without work.”
Again in Philadelphia, new defensive coordinator Sean Desai was busy finding out movie in his workplace round time for supper one night when he appeared up and noticed Hurts standing within the doorway.
“I am like, ‘What’s up?’” Desai mentioned. “He simply began asking questions.”
It was one thing former DC Jonathan Gannon had grown accustomed to. Hurts, ever in the hunt for extra soccer information, likes to get contained in the minds of defensive coaches to get a greater understanding of what the opponent is likely to be considering on recreation day.
“He is so sharp, he’s so brilliant. You see, now being part of the group you perceive why he is so particular,” Desai mentioned. “The way in which his mind works, the varieties of questions that he asks, you can inform that he is simply making an attempt to raise his recreation to the following degree.”
Sirianni has famous that the conversations within the quarterback room have deepened because of Hurts’ rising mastery of the system — talks which have “opened new doorways” on offense, Hurts mentioned.
He likes to name himself a “triple menace” — capable of assault along with his arm, his legs and his thoughts. The final half is a selected level of delight for him.
“I think for a long time, the world told guys like me that they couldn’t process and they couldn’t have that approach to the game and have the fundamental and mental awareness to execute and play the position at a high level,” he said, telling NBC that he’s “trying to put that to sleep.”
Hurts has been highly efficient this summer. The ball is getting out quickly, the passes have been accurate, and his throwing motion looks more effortless than in seasons past.
His growing chemistry with good friend A.J. Brown has stood out, from their precision on back-shoulder catch and throws to timing on the deep ball.
Hurts is entering his third year in Sirianni’s system, and with the offense loaded with talent and returning all but two starters, there is a smoothness to the operation that doesn’t always materialize this time of year.
“The first couple days, I definitely felt like he was on another level … making it look easy,” said Brown. “Being real calm, like he’s in a game.
“Of course I’d love to see him take another step because that means we all take another step.”
The hiccup throughout the end-of-game simulation was a uncommon blemish, and Sirianni pounced. It is Sirianni’s model to teach gamers exhausting anyway, however a dialog from his early days with Hurts supplied reassurance he would react positively to criticism. When Sirianni first arrived in Philly, Hurts inspired Sirianni to get after him, saying that as a coach’s son he can take it — and even desires it.
That hasn’t modified now that Hurts has moved into star standing.
“These guys have a fantastic relationship, and I believe it clearly helps your crew when certainly one of your finest gamers is raring to be coached exhausting,” mentioned offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. “I believe that simply units an unbelievable customary for all the group.”